I try not to visit the farmer's market on an empty stomach. The overstimulation of so much fresh, ripe food causes me to buy too much stuff. I lug it all home, as happy as a pig in pile of corn—all self-satisfied and content. But, by the miracle of time, alchemy and a big fridge, too much of the bright and colorful produce transforms into a khaki-colored sludge. This may be good for the compost pile but, at today's prices for organic produce, the green in my wallet disappears faster than the green in my refrigerator.
My weakness is the sublime and orderly display of all that produce. As when perusing a museum filled painting after painting of exquisite still life, I reach sensory overload and want it all. Of course this is foolish behavior so I make sure I eat breakfast before I go on my Sunday, market jaunt. And I bring my camera. Full stomach and good lens mean less produce to lug home.
The produce (whether I buy it or not) has me thinking that I'm eager to do more still life in both photography and painting. I'd love to have a little studio setup with some props and nice, soft lights. Until I set things up I'll just grab the photos where I can. Sometimes things are just waiting there for us to behold them. Often the best images aren't planned or staged at all—they're just there waiting for me.
I find photo opportunities at the market and also on my butcher-block counter when I bring them home. I revel in the natural light of the various seasons and how it seems to compliment the produce in its own special way. Bright summer light is just right for red tomatoes while the weak rays of a misty winter morning accent the Swiss chard, coaxing out its deep green color.
This week I found some blueberries just waiting for my camera and me. The nice thing about photos is that they don't grow fuzz in the fridge. Oh, wait a minute, I do have that box of 4x5 film in there that's reached it's expiration date…